B W 804 for Home Theater

Lets talk about B&W for a moment. I have heard rave reviews about their Nautilus speakers and am curious about their suitability for home theater. I have looked at the 804s and 805s as well as the matching center channel. Does anyone else use this combination? Would the 804s/805s be acceptable for left/right front if paired with a proper sub? I am concerned that the small drivers on these speakers might not be up to delivering the proper slam that is needed for home theater. My home theater room is small and I am looking to purchase a matched set of speakers that will stand the test of time. Thanks.
Assuming you like the basic Nautilus sound, you'll love the combination and it will suit you well. To get the HT slam you want, you'll definitely need a properly mated sub, but there's more to it than that. You want proper articulation so dialogue is clear, and the B&W's will certainly do an excellent job on that. You also want a musical sound since soundtracks are so predominant these days and, again, the B&W's will excel.

You didn't ask this question so feel free to ignore the comment, but if it were me, I'd think about spending more on the fronts (L/C/R) and save some on the rears unless surround music is going to be very important to you. Buying the 803's and a better sub and using some lower end B&W's for the surrounds would be how I'd spend the same amount of money. Just a thought. -Kirk

My HT set had B&W Nautilus 805s for L/R channels, the HTM-2 for the center channel and the ASW 4000 for LFE. This combination works very well for HT or audio. You get plenty of slam and crystal clear dialogue. Suffering from the "I've got to improve" bug, I recently replaced the 805s with 803s. What I gained was better definition in the upper bass and better sound staging. The 803s are also almost twice the price of 805s + stands. You might want to look closely at the CDM-9NTs. The speaker enclosures are not as solid or as visually pleasing as the Nautilus speakers, but the drivers are very similar to the 803s. They compare quite favorably to the 804s. I am using CDM-1NT for rear channels.
Actually, the standard stereo Design of these speakers (tweeter on top w/one midrange) lends themselves to small rooms for effectiveness with home theater!(assuming proper set-up..and I'll bet you have an easier time with the 804's in a small room!) Larger rooms tend to allow too much interaction with reflected sound with these for effective HT monitors! (In this respect, Diappolito condigured speakers work much better in larger rooms, where you sit further away!). So, my FIRST HAND experience with these 804's in a small room (approx 12 X 13), is that they work fantastic when set up properly!!! Definitely get the matching center for these 804's (the woofers being closer to the floor tend to make it easier to get good sound in the midbass with the 804's than the 805's probably!?).
As for your concern about small drivers handling the bass, actually NO FULL RANGE OR OTHERWISE monitor can handle full range bass from DD/DTS soundtracks!!!! Only exception is powered speakers with large drivers! Just about all full range monitors (even larger drivered units) bottom out or sound like week mush when you hit em with Digital bass mixes!!!...they just can't handle it! YOu really need a powered sub to handle the bottom (or two), and let your speakers be configured for "small" on the processor! The only downside to this, is that the standard 80hz crossover on most receivers "small" setting is really to high! 50-60hz is much much better, presserving the integrity and speed and punch in that portion of the bass region!...then let the sub handle bellow that! You'll need a pre/pro or receiver with flexible bass management however. Acurus, Aragon, Lexicon, B&K, Anthem, Theta, etc., all make processors with this advanced bass management flexibility!
Anyway, you can run the B&W's full range for music, as music isn't anywhere near as demanding in the deep bass as movie mixes, which are about 5-10 X's more potent there!!!A good choice for a small potent sub are the little Velodyne's or Sunfires.
have fun...
Just reinforceing "Msontang" with the CDM9NT is deffinately worth looking into. You already know that you will need a sub to complete the set up and always consider others, but I would match it with a B&W. I use Krell KAV 250a/3 and DS-6 B&W surrounds with amazing results so I have to stress good amplification to the surrounds, but you won't be sorry with any of the B&W's. I added front left/right/center ASW800 subs for the slam you are seeking. I used the center to pair with my matrix HTM for full range center and I even use the L/R for music with my 801III's with excellent blend and slam. I use 2 Bag End infrasub 18's for my LFE in the rear and what a foundation shaker. I hope I gave you something to consider and I think you are on the right path. Good luck!
I will definitely check out the CDM-9NTS. I just read the review of them in Stereophile and I am interested in hearing them. I currently use a B&K Ref-30 processor and Acurus 125x5 amp, so I think as long as I keep in the range of the 804 or the CDM9NT I should be okay power-wise. Thanks all for the help.
Another question: The Nautilus HTM-1 or HTM-2? I know that the center channel is extremely important, and I want to buy the right product, not just one that is easier on the wallet.
I'm using an HTM-2 center with my 804s for front and 805s for rear. The HTM-2 just sounded tighter and more clear dialog to me. I've hear this from other people, but you should listen for yourself.

I ordered the CDM-NT rears (cheaper than the 805s), but when they arrived, I could not bear to even listen to them. I thought they were quite ugly and cheap compared to the 805s. Back they went and I got a pair of 805s for the rear. I found that the best, most enveloping sound is to position them next to the listeners, and point them toward the center, but slightly toward the rear wall. That way the sound bounces off the wall, making a more diffuse sound which really works! It increases the apparent volume and makes for incredible ambiance.

I'm using a REL Q201 powered subwoofer. It cranks out more bass than I can handle. I've got it set quite low on the volume setting. One of their larger subs, like the Storm, would look beautiful with the 804s, but that would be even further overkill for my room, which has hardwood floors.

Room tuning was *very* important in my small-ish room. Putting a nice big rug on the hardwood floor dramatically improved imaging and the overall response. No more boomy resonant bass.

I'm very pleased with the 804s. I found that they had better midrange and midbass compared to the 805s for your LR speakers.

Just bought the 804s last night. Let them warm up by running them all night. Played an SACD and it sounded awesome. I can't wait for them to break in all the way. I've got to pick up the HTM-2 center today. Curious: the port/threaded-nut on the back of the speaker across from the mid-range driver? What is its function? I cannot find reference to it in the manual. Thanks.
Good question about the port/nut on the back. I have no idea what it's for. I left it alone. Cheers.
Dealer told me they are for shipping to hold the mid drivers in. They are removed by dealer at prep time.